By Brooke Holt
“O God who before the passion of your only begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” - Book of Common Prayer, The Collect for Year B, Last Sunday after the Epiphany
As the season of Epiphany draws to a close, we are invited into a holy season of Lent. And what is a holy Lent? The details vary from person to person, but Lent offers believers a season to set apart for penitence, fasting, repentance, and transformation. We don’t do any of these things to earn God’s love. Instead, we do all things because God loved us so much that he sent his Son to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to himself.
The season of Lent focuses on what it means for you to pick up your cross and to walk with Jesus on the road to Golgotha. For forty days, you are invited to deny yourself through giving up a worldly comfort or taking up a spiritual discipline. People may give up things like chocolate, bread, wine, television, or social media—or they may take up things like daily Bible reading, praying, fasting, or serving. Jesus came to lay down his life on your behalf, and Lent invites you to lay down your habits before the Lord. Lent invites you to lay down earthly comforts, take up spiritual disciplines, and understand what it means to die to self.
A holy Lent draws you drawn closer to the King of kings; it tunes your soul to his Word and fills your heart with his love. Even if you stumble in your giving up or slacken in your taking on, the Lord has chosen you and set his grace and love upon you. As his beloved child, he beckons you to come and become more like who he made you to be, more like Jesus.
A Christian’s self-denial is not for punishment but for liberation. God created you in his image, to reflect his glory to the world. During Lent, you can ask God to illuminate your heart and mind with his Word and truth and reveal any grievous way in you (Psalm 139:24). As you practice these things, his Spirit will grow you to become more like Jesus, more holy in every way. May this season of Lent be one in which you are transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).
How will you observe a holy Lent this year? What spiritual disciplines is the Lord inviting you to commit to for the next forty days? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Related Resource:The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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